High Roads
Part Three: Low Roads
Sectionn 3.1: The lowest roads world wide
-7m -23ft Alexanderpolder, Rotterdam Netherlands Web Lowest point in western Europe? Road(s) not known. See also below.
(-16m) -53ft Lake Eyre (usually dry) South Australia Web Lowest point in Australia - driveable dry bed - Donald Campbell's Bluebird set World Land Speed Record 1964 - click here
(-28m) -92ft Shore of Caspian Sea Russia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan Web The surface of the Caspian Sea is the lowest point in Europe. The lowest motorable point will be a shore road in Russia or Azerbaijan at c -25m
-42m (-40m) -131ft (-137') Salinas Grandes** Península Valdés, Argentina Map (Web) On Inca Trail rally 2001. Lowest point in South America, reachable by private dirt road. -42m on map in Guía Turistel 2001.
-85.5m (-280ft) Badwater* Death Valley, California Sign Lowest point in the Americas. Paved road runs alongside.
-160m (-524ft) Djourab Depression Chad, Africa Web See below - lowest point in Africa? Roads unknown.
-400m (-1312ft) Shores of Dead Sea** Jordan/Israel Web The surface of the Dead Sea is the lowest point on the earth's surface. Its altitude is variously given as between -394m and -400m, and of course it rises and falls with water inflow and evaporation. In Jordan, the Dead Sea Highway runs only a few metres above this, at approximately -390m (-1,280ft). Undoubtedly the world's lowest road is this or another road by this sea. When the 1998 HERO London-Cape Town rally used the Dead Sea Highway, one participant was rash enough to drive to the water's edge, where his car sank into the mud - the lowest you can drive a motor vehicle on the earth's surface.
At www.graphicmaps.com/aatlas/infopage/highlow.htm is a list of highest and lowest points in each country. The following are those lowest points which are below sea level, excluding the ones listed above. It is likely that many of these are served by a motorable road of some kind, but I have no information about this.
-2m Rhone delta France
-2m Freepsum Lake Germany
-2m Raczki Elblaskie Poland
-2m Unnamed location in the coastal plain Suriname
-3m Sebkha de Ndrhamcha Mauritania
-4m Hachiro-gata Japan
-6.74m Nieuwerkerk aan den Ijssel Netherlands (NB see above)
-7m Lammefjord Denmark
-10m Laguna Salada Mexico
-12m Sariqarnish Kuli Uzbekistan
-17m Shatt al Gharsah Tunisia
-40m Chott Melrhir Algeria
-40m Salinas Chicas Argentina
-46m Lago Enriquillo Dominican Republic
-47m Sabkhat Ghuzayyil Libya
-55m Sebkha Tah Morocco
-81m Vpadina Akchanaya Turkmenistan
-75m Near Kulul within the Denakil depression Eritrea
-125m Denakil Ethiopia
-132m Vpadina Kaundy Kazakhstan
-133m Qattara Depression Egypt
-154m Turpan Pendi China
-155m Lac Assal Djibouti
-160m Djourab Depression Chad
Section 3.2: Britain's lowest roads
Where are the lowest roads in Britain? There are half a dozen yellow roads with 0m spot heights on sheet 143 to the NE of Outwell, Norfolk (although only two of these - at 555052 and 587095 - were 0ft on 1" sheet 124 1968 revn; 539089 & 554089 were 1ft, and the others are new). I found just one (but on a no-through yellow) with a -1m spot height, at 143/649910 (also new since 1968). (On 1" sheet 134, 1960 reprint, there were -1ft SHs at 344869 and 337857, but these have become 1m on 1:50K sheet 142.) I have not yet found a 0m SH on any classified road on the 1:50K maps, but there was a 0ft one on the A1101 at 135 (now 143)/648833. Any improvements on this very cursory search?